Cricket Business: SLC Cricket Woes, India lockdown hurting SriLankan cricket commercially says CEO

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The Sri Lanka cricket board (SLC) has come out with various commercial tenders over last 3 months. Be it the national team sponsorship, broadcast rights, digital rights, ground rights, production rights and now the SriLankan Premier League rights tender, all of these are just seeing new tender extension timelines on a daily basis. Reason, the commercial capital of the world of cricket India is in lockdown mode due to Covid19 pandemic.
 

“We have kept basically everyone informed about the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) and called for expression of interest,” Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva told the Daily News. “There are companies which have shown interest but the issue here is that we cannot close it. We were supposed to close it on Tuesday but we can’t because India is closed now. So we are extending the date till April 15. For that also we sent a resolution yesterday, that the sponsorship and all that also will get extended,” he said.

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The SLC media rights deal with Sony Pictures Network (SPN) expired last month. The board came out with the tender document in the month of February. Initially because of low key response and now due to the menace of Covid19 all around the globe, no one is coming forward to pick the sports media rights (broadcast and digital) which is the biggest source of revenue for any sporting federation. This has resulted in multiple extensions. The same is the case for the ground rights, team sponsorship rights and other tenders of SLC. According to SLC CEO, the biggest chunk of these sponsors come from India and entire country is locked down at this stage and it is impacting commercial plans of SLC
 

“All the people who will come for the sponsorship are from India, the broadcasting sponsors, the media sponsors, ground sponsors all are from India. For them to even respond they need to also regroup and they cannot reapply for it remotely and send a briefing because these are not small amounts we are talking of. “You need to also give them time to come out with a proposal that is why we are extending the dates with hopes that everything will improve gradually. Even then we don’t know when can be close our contracts. We will now review the situation on April 15,” De Silva said.

Another issue bothering SriLanka is likely postponement of some of the scheduled series in the future tour program (FTP) of ICC. The two-Test series against England scheduled in March is already postponed and now question marks linger over South Africa team tour to Lanka in June. South Africa is slated to land in island nation for 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is in June. 

“South Africa wouldn’t want to come if we don’t give them enough time to train. If South Africa is to come in June then things should ease off by April 15 or end of April. They need at least about a month to prepare. The way things stand it is very unlikely it will happen,” said De Silva. “That is why we want to push back the South African tour to July so that we have about three months from now onwards. Those are the scenarios we are looking at, what are the alternate dates and alternate windows that are available to do that,” he said.v“At the moment we are also discussing how to reschedule the England tour and which window we can play that before the Test Championship final in June 2021. We are talking to the ECB and we should be able to finalize it in about another week or two.”

“We are also supposed to play the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and the Asia Cup in Dubai. Everything depends whether we will go ahead with it or not. If the situation doesn’t improve then automatically those also might get postponed. It all depends whether the situation will improve,” De Silva added. 

All of these postponements, delays due to Covid19 will impact the coffers of the Sri-Lanka cricket board quite heavily. 

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